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REVIEW: Ebook Weekly: Phaze Bookstore Review

CONTEST! Phaze is releasing six stories to be published early next month as part of their Samba Heatsheet line – all stories set in South America. Phaze will offer two Dear Author readers three downloads apiece. Just post in the comments section one title that will be released in the Samba Heatsheet line.

There are two websites for Phaze. One is the publisher site which is mainly devoted to giving information about its books, Phaze events, and submissions and the other is the bookstore. Phaze appears to have opened its doors in 2004. There are novels in print and for sale at Borders. It publishes erotic stories in a several categories, lengths and explicitness:

  • Heat Sheets: 5,000 – 12,000 words (short stories)
  • Photon: 12,000 – 30,000 words (novella)
  • Comet: 30,000 – 60,000 words (category)
  • Eclipse: 60,000 – 90,000 words (novel)

And

  • Pulsar—Milder language, standard sex and pairings.
  • Nebula—Bold language, may contain toys, sensual bondage, mild D/s, anal play
  • Nova—Bold language, may contain threesomes, anal sex, significant bondage, serious D/s, m/m encounters

There is forum which contains reviews, news, contests, and events. There is also an announcement yahoo group and a reader yahoo group. Phaze also has a blog where recent events are posted as well as new releases. It appears that different authors blog about different Phaze related events. Phaze even has a wiki, although it appears to be in its infancy. (a wiki is an online database or knowledgebase that is user editable).

I did not see any frequent buyer’s club or regular discounts although I noticed some books were discounted and some were not. I couldn’t tell if there was some relation between the discounted books.

The below assessment is of the bookstore only as that is what is most important to the buyers. I do have one or two comments that I will at the end regarding the main site. The bookstore is set up almost exactly like the Samhain bookstore so if you are familiar with Samhain, the Phaze bookstore works pretty much the same way.

  • Navigation-by Author, genre and line. There is a recent bestseller list. On the main Phaze site, there is a bestseller list for 2005. I thought that was a nice touch. There is a search function worked well bringing up a page of covers and links for the authors I searched.
  • Excerpts-excerpts were larger than other sites but still not great.
  • Reviews-Reviews are provided but only if you click on the "reviews" button that appears on each book page. I recall seeing one or two books that had no reviews.
  • Series-Either Phaze has no connected books or it fails to identify the books in a series.
  • Word Count – Ranges with cutesy names (like all bookstores). It did have a link on each book page to a small popup window explaining the "heat" level and the content length.
  • Wishlist- No wishlist
  • Bookshelf-There is a record of all purchases you made and if the link has not expired, you are allotted a certain number of redownloads.
  • Payment-Credit cards only.
  • Downloads-Download is immediate.
  • Confirmation-A confirmation email includes a link to the order you just made.
  • Formats: PDF, MOBI, LIT, HTML, and Rb. I noticed in the FAQ section that if you want a partiular format not listed, you need only ask. Very nice.
  • Irks-The download links can expire even if you have downloads left on a particular book. I did not like that there were links to the playgirl site and another site which appeared to be a porn portal. This is a personal irk and may not bother others. However, I think it is hard to avoid the “porn” tag if you publicly affiliate yourself with sites that are porn related.
  • Overall, I would give the store a B. The store is easy to navigate and has decent prices for the content. It has terrible covers, though, and the download links expire after a few weeks. Finally, no paypal. I realize that it is an adult bookstore and therefore paypal won’t allow you to use it, but other epublishers do (like Samhain) and I much prefer to pay with paypal..

As always, we sent questions to Phaze for our and your edification:

What is your niche in the publishing market?

Phaze specializes in erotic romance and erotica aimed at female readers. In this day where more publishers are branching into the erotica/romance genre, it wouldn’t appear that Phaze has a niche per se, but I like to think we stand out in certain ways. We do publish novel length fiction, and we are open to receiving more submissions of novels, yet I believe right now we are better known for our themed “HeatSheets.” HeatSheets are works between 5-12K, and while we will publish them year round we have
taken to offering themed stories with a united cover that run during holidays and seasons – Sparklers for summer, Shivers for Halloween, etc.

What makes an ebook publisher successful?

I believe the dedication of everybody involved in the venture, the publisher, editors and authors, contributes to success. Authors who fiercely promote themselves and their work, naturally, are welcomed, but I do believe other staff play an important role. A publisher who listens to author concerns, editors with a keen eye for manuscripts and the ability not to overshadow an author’s voice with their own are very important elements.

Where do you see your publishing house in 5 years?

As our paperback titles are currently shelved at Borders, I would like to see Phaze move to regular print runs in the next five years. We have discussed it in the past, as well as the possibility of audio editions and printed anthologies comprised of our shorter works. We prefer to remain small to devote more attention to our authors, yet if ever we become eligible for RWA, wonderful.

How responsive are you to reader demands in determining content?

I’d say we are quite responsive. We have a message board on site, a Yahoo readers group, and hold regular chats. Often we’ve asked readers what they like to read, and do our best to provide quality works. Recently, we have had a number of requests for interracial romance, and while we have a few titles in stock we are planning to release more.

Why should a reader be buying from you?

Phaze offers quality romance, simple as that. We have a diverse stable of authors who will make you laugh, cry, and want to reach for your husband in the middle of the night after reading a very hot chapter. Readers may notice we do not release titles with the frequency of other publishers. That will likely change in the future, but the for the time being we take our time because we want to make sure every title is the best it can be before we list it for sale. Phaze is very selective when it comes to optioning manuscript (rejection rate stands about 90%), so you can be sure every time we release a book it is of high quality.

Are there any things about your site you’d like to be sure get featured in the Dearauthor post?

Check out the Phaze Wiki at http://www.phaze.com/wiki. I believe we are the only publisher to have one. I stand corrected if not.

Kathryn Lively

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. Jenny
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 05:45:32

    Amichu, by Will Belegon and Alessia Brio

    ReplyReply

  2. Fiona
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 07:43:32

    Isle of Desire, by Eden Bradley

    ReplyReply

  3. Keishon
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 11:38:25

    I see they have no books listed in historical category and I’m a history kinda of gal, too. I didn’t know this store existed before today. Thanks for the review.

    ReplyReply

  4. Jane
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 12:36:04

    There were alot of categories not yet filled but it sounds like they really vette the books they release. Alessia Brio won some award for one of her books, IIRC. I bought a Leigh Ellwood book.

    ReplyReply

  5. Keishon
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 18:15:52

    Yeah, I saw the Ellwood book was a Eppie Finalist. I might buy it, too.

    ReplyReply

  6. Kathryn Lively
    Jul 23, 2006 @ 22:42:00

    To clarify, a few of our books and authors have enjoyed success. Devi Sparks’ Fairy Godlover was an RT Top Pick, Leigh’s Dare Me was a Love Romances award winner for Best Erotica, Robin Slick’s Three Days in New York City was a top Fictionwise seller. Some of our authors have gone on to sign contracts with major pubs, too. We’re very proud of the Phaze family.

    ReplyReply

  7. Nicole
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 21:14:47

    Leap of Faith, by Kate Willoughby

    I’ve known about Phaze for quite awhile now, but haven’t really read anything from them yet.

    ReplyReply

  8. Daniel Reitz
    Mar 23, 2008 @ 19:02:37

    Hi. To clarify, Phaze Books does take PayPal (always has). Thanks, Dan

    ReplyReply

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